It's here - the time year when back to school' ranges flood the supermarkets and absolutely everything item is labelled, "perfect for the lunchbox". Although it's pretty easy as a parent to judge whether a bag of dried fruit is better than a bag of crisps, it's slightly more complicated when it comes to online learning. That's why we've taken it upon us to submerge ourselves in the plethora of sites dotted across the web, to bring you the very best catch of the day.
Mylo offers a really fun way for kids to learn languages: taking the focus off boring and stressful homework and exams, and instead shining a spotlight on what kids like most - having fun. The site expertly integrates the learning experience into exciting games such as writing a promotion for a dance jam in Spanish, creating a track list in French for the 2012 athletes right through to designing an ice-cream for the Chinese market in Mandarin. Your kids every taste will be catered for.
The idea behind Tutor Hub is simple enough: to provide help when kids need it most; at homework time. The site was set up for kids to connect over homework problems, discussing them in threads and solving them together, as well as giving young students and their parents the option of paying a tutor to help out online. This covers all hours, so when your kid needs help with a maths problem and you just can't remember your Pythagoras theorem, just sign in to Tutor Hub and get all the help you need.
Avid GWG readers might notice that we've featured this site before - and with good reason. This subscription based site offers a way for young ones (ages 3-8) to learn to read in a setting away from the classroom. Reading eggs have created a fun and engaging environment with animations, games, and songs for little ones to enjoy. Kids are rewarded each time they get something right, which really helps them get motivated to read on. There's also a free trial on offer, so you can decide in your own time whether or not you want to start subscribing.
There's no question why Manga High was shortlisted for our Website of the Year Awards back in 2010: it's not only one of the pioneers of online learning with games aplenty, material is based on the national curriculum, meaning you can be sure your kids are ahead of the curve when they get to school. The site focuses specifically on mathematics for kids age 11-16; each game provides a different learning topic and exercises skills like real-world adaptation of problems, ability to hypothesise and evaluate ideas, as well as strengthening skills by repetition.
Run by a team of teachers and professional tech-heads, Ed Place offers English, maths, and science in tune with the national curriculum's Key Stages 1-4. There's a 14-day trial period for £1, and after that subscription prices start at £8 a month. With literally thousands of worksheets to complete online or print and fill out (as well as a facility to track your child's progress online), you're really getting your money's worth.
Learn English Kids
Run by the British Council, this fun educational fun site helps youngsters learn English, with inspiring online activities, including word of the week, spelling practice, and Hangman. All the games are interactive - in the word of the week activity you get to watch a video about the word, in the spelling practice games you drag and drop the word to the right picture, and in the hangman game you must guess the right word before the monkey gets squashed under the rock. What's the best bit? For each game the kids can log in and post their own comments - if a game is fun, easy, exciting - they'll tell you!
Do your children think maths is boring and difficult? Well, it could be because the classroom atmosphere isn't motivating them. With Mathletics, maths suddenly becomes fun. You or your children's school sign them up for a fee, and they're then free to roam the site and engage in fun and stimulating educational games. They even have the opportunity to connect and compete with other kids worldwide in a range of trying games.
Colour-in vowels, jigsaw safari, and an animated lesson plan educating young children about the frog's life cycle are just some of the features of this handy site. Although the material originates from American curriculums, there's no reason why your kids can't make use of the wide range of free materials. We adore the Simple Sentences game, where a sentence is ejected from a bubble machine word by word. Your task is then to place it in the right order. While the games load, the usual "loading" bar is replaced by a mini-game of tennis for two. Simple but so much fun!.
Education City's database is huge - with over 2,000 activities that train your child in curriculum subjects such as literacy, maths, science and modern foreign languages. There's great stuff like ABC singalongs for the smaller ones, a math-themed Dungeon Run, and a game that lets you create your own French passport. It's so much fun your kids won't even know they're learning!